Avoid ‘a nasty surprise on Halloween’ - PSNI

Police appeal for sense at Halloween
Police appeal for sense at Halloween

Halloween festivities can be enjoyed by all, but for some ‘trick or treating’, bonfires, fireworks and sparklers could result in “a rather nasty surprise”.

Appealing to parents, youth and community leaders to help make this year’s festivities safe and fun, Supt Mike Baird said: “The weeks prior to and after Halloween are becoming an increasingly busy time of the year for the Police Service.

“We continually receive reports of criminal damage and youths causing annoyance to vulnerable people within the area.

“We want to make it clear that anyone caught breaking the law will be dealt with robustly.

“Parents need to make sure they know the whereabouts of their children and to make sure that they are not engaging in any criminal activity or criminal damage to property. Individuals are also being urged to pay close attention to their own personal safety, if they intend to be in the vicinity of fireworks, sparklers or bonfires.

“Fireworks contain explosive, flammable substances, which can cause serious injury to an individual or damage to property. Children using sparklers should also be closely supervised.”

The safety advice below can help make Halloween a safe, enjoyable time for everyone.


• Fireworks require a licence - except indoor fireworks and sparklers.

• It is illegal to possess, purchase, sell, handle or use fireworks except under licence.

• Only adults should light or handle fireworks.

• Never ever go back to a firework once lit - even if it does not go off.

When watching fireworks, stand well back

• It is an offence to throw fireworks in the street or other public places.

• Always supervise children around fireworks.

• Never give sparklers to children under the age of five.

• Light sparklers one at time and always wear gloves.

• Keep a bucket of water close by and put sparklers in it when they go out.

• You can be fined up to £5,000 for breaking the law in relation to fireworks.



• Make sure the bonfire is located away from houses, buildings and overhead cables.

• Keep the bonfire to a manageable size - the bigger the fire the bigger the risk.


• Sleep in a makeshift hut while the bonfire is being built. This could be fatal if the fire is lit prematurely.

• Use petrol or paraffin to light the bonfire. Domestic firelighters are safer.

• Use old tyres, tar or scrap rubber on the bonfire. Avoid using foam-filled furniture, aerosols, gas cylinders and paint. Uncontrolled burning of these substances can affect air and water quality and harm the environment.

The law clearly states that fireworks must be bought from a licensed dealer who is required to keep sales records. Fireworks bought from other sources could be of a sub-standard quality, with the potential to cause serious injury.

- Fireworks that do not have instructions printed in English are ILLEGAL.

- All bangers are ILLEGAL.

- The purchase, possession or use of fireworks without a licence is an OFFENCE.

Police are appealing to the community to help them stamp out illegal trading and misuse of fireworks by contacting local police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.